What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Limited market for carbon offset investments. Lack of interest among firms to adopt a green profile by investing in the voluntary carbon offset market is a potential barrier. We plan to overcome this barrier by initially targeting a few high profile firms that have expressed interest in this project. We will aggressively promote the economic benefits of greening business operations by highlighting the growing market for sustainable products and services. We will scale our business model by targeting a network of green businesses that are connected to these high profile clients. DCOD will continue to grow its client base by marketing its services through a web-based platform that will connect a broad network of environmentally conscious businesses.
Opposition to reforestation. Landowner and farmer opposition to reforesting lands is a potential barrier. We plan to overcome this barrier by identifying high value timber and non-timber forest products that are native to the region, have short growth life cycles, and can increase revenue streams for landowners and farmers in the near term. DCOD will promote the economic benefits of reforestation to landowners and farmers, facilitate the provision of trainings and tools, and provide assistance in marketing and sales of these forest products.
Insufficient revenue streams. Lack of sufficient revenue streams to maintain a profitable business model is a potential barrier. We plan to overcome this barrier by generating a range of revenue streams. These include:
1. Transaction fees on carbon offset purchases and carbon offset management.
2. The sale of carbon-offset futures to kick start local projects.
3. Advertising fees on our web-based green business network platform.
4. Public funds and grants from donor agencies, NGOs and foundations to support training programs for landowners and farmers in host country.
5. Private investment.
Tell us about your partnerships
Host country partnerships:
Government: DCOD is partnering with Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture to help identify possible participants for the project. The Ministry will offer invaluable technical, administrative and community support throughout the project. We have already consulted Eng. Jaime Rojas P.MSc. a former congressman and agricultural engineer with close ties to a number of university deans and government offices.
Academic Institutions: Local universities will offer technical and research support as well as supply us with experts for training and capacity building. Ecuador’s universities have strong agriculture departments and we will rely on this local support. Mr Rojas has already connected DCOD with several universities and we plan to meet their respective deans during a planed August 2011 trip to Ecuador.
Farmer Associations: DCOD will partner with farmer associations to identify project participants and map out appropriate areas for reforestation activities. Partnerships with these institutions will determine our success on a local level.
NGO’s/International Organizations: We will partner with the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), UN REDD and the International Network for Bamboo and Rotan (INBAR), all of which have a presence in Ecuador and are committed to the development of bamboo as an alternative to sustainable economic development in the region.
Industry: DCOD has reached out to established manufacturers of sustainable timber products to initiate an increase in manufacturing presence in the region and to serve as potential buyers of forest products cultivated through the DCOD initiative.
Green Businesses: DCOD will consider all green businesses as potential clients and will focus on establishing strong working relationships with a wide community of environmentally conscious businesses. Our growth as a business will depend on the success of the green industry in general and the success of DCOD relies on building a strong community of businesses who are committed to taking significant steps towards climate change mitigation and environmental stewardship.
Explain your selections
Friends and Family: We will seek support from friends and family to generate start capital for our project. These investments will result in part ownership of the project and will allow us to develop the basic infrastructure of the DCOD project.
NGOs/Foundations: We intend to apply for NGO and foundation grants as well as social enterprise competitions for start-up capital to cover travel costs, web-site development, office space and initial project activities.
Individuals/Venture Capital: We will seek financial support from venture capitalists once the basic structure of DCOD has been set up. We will leverage the future earning potentials as a means to court sizeable investments to help pay for the scale-up of the DCOD project.
Businesses: We will begin to generate income from add placement and other marketing services directed towards green businesses and consumers through our web site. As our business grows and web traffic increases, so will the value of advertising and marketing potential.
US Government: We will seek foreign investment grants from the US government to help us develop export opportunities for sustainable forest products with the intention of expanding existing export/import relationships between Ecuador and the US.
Customers: Transaction fees from the sale of carbon-offset to client businesses will contribute to the majority of our working capital and will cover DCOD’s full operating expenses by year three.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
With the initial investment from friends, family, business competitions and grants, we will develop the necessary infrastructure for DCOD to begin operations. These activities include developing an online presence (website, Facebook, Twitter), rental of office space, subcontracting finance and legal support, as well as administrative and travel expenses. Once operational, revenues generated from transaction fees associated with the sale of carbon offset packages to businesses will take over as the primary source of the operating budget. At this stage we will look to augment our revenue with capital raised from individual investors and private equity funds to continue growing our business. As our client base grows our website will begin to serve as a major networking site for green businesses and consumers. Heavy site traffic will lead to an increased opportunity to sell directed advertising space and generate a steady stream of revenue for DCOD. We will continue to secure private investment throughout the life of the project as we work to expand DCOD’s reach to new markets in the US and Latin America. By year three we will look to introduce new services that have the potential to generate additional revenue for DCOD. For example, DCOD is already exploring the development of consulting services to advise client firms on how they can reduce their carbon footprints and lower operating costs.